Every time I am pitched by a smart meter technology company I immediately imagine the arguments that I will have with my husband about installing same in our home. I'm thinking I'm going to have to do it the sneaky way, sort of like I did when I added a wireless network. It isn't that he isn't interested in cutting our electricity bill (or the water bill for that matter), it is that he just doesn't use technology (other than the television he's using to watch all sorts of classic movies and the mobile phone that is attached to his ear). Yes, folks, I am totally serious. So, to the extent that smart meters require any sort of learning curve, it just won't fly in our household.
That's why I'm keeping my eyes on some of the intelligent platforms from the likes of Cisco, Intel, Google, MIcrosoft, EcoDog. The list continues to expand and now I'm adding GreenWave Reality, whose CEO I interviewed a couple of weeks ago. Greg Memo, who previously held positions at Cisco, Compaq, Gateway and Apple, says that intelligence and automation will be the key to smart meters. So, for example, your ability to schedule your electric car to charge in the middle of the night when the electricity cost might be lower. And then forget about it. The fact of the matter is that most people are bringing more devices into their house every day that are increasing usage (printers and wireless networks and big-screen televisions). That's a behavior that isn't going to change, so smart meters need to do more than just tell us we're using more. And utility companies need to think seriously about how they're going to disassociate the idea of smart meters with the notion that they cause prices to rise. The fact is, electricity costs have been rising all over the country -- with or without smart meters in place. The folks with smart meters have noticed more.
An interview with Memo was published a few days ago on our SmartPlanet Web site. I'll let him speak for himself on this one on why he thinks smart meters need to be smarter, and I'll keep watching for the company's foray into the United States. (It's mainly operating in Europe right now.)